Fox News Channel was the again the top cable news network for the week of Feb. 20, 2023 in total viewers and adults 25-54, finishing substantially ahead of its cable news competition.
According to Nielsen live plus same day data, Fox News is No. 1 among ad-supported basic cable networks in total primetime viewers, averaging 2.09 million this past week. The network finished No. 5 among ad-supported basic cable networks in Adults 25-54 (255,000), behind ESPN (443,000), TNT (290,000), TBS (286,000) and USA (260,000).
In total day, FNC once again placed No. 1 on basic cable in total viewers, averaging 1.33 million. The network improved by one spot to second place in A25-54 viewers (167,000). Only ESPN averaged more (223,000).
Despite the continued dominance over its cable news competition and high rankings on the cable ratings food chain, Fox News lost viewers from the week before. FNC shed -4% in total primetime viewers, -9% in primetime A25-54 viewers, -8% in total day viewers and -13% in total day A25-54 viewers. Fox also trended in the wrong direction on a year-over-year basis, which makes sense considering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started during the year-ago week (Feb. 21, 2022). Fox dropped -34% in total primetime viewers, -61% in primetime A25-54 viewers, -39% in total day viewers, and -63% in total day A25-54 viewers. MSNBC and CNN post similar year-over-year losses, as we’ll show later.
MSNBC remained No. 3 in total primetime viewers among ad-supported cablers, averaging 1.06 million this past week. The network placed second in total day viewers for the fifth consecutive week with 689,000. In Adults 25-54, MSNBC fell to No. 31 in primetime, averaging 95,000 viewers —and No. 21 in the total day demo, averaging 72,000 viewers.
Compared to the previous week (beginning Feb. 13), MSNBC shed -9% in total primetime viewers, -14% in primetime A25-54 viewers, -5% in total day viewers and -6% in total day A25-54 viewers. Relative to the year-ago week (Feb. 21, 2022), MSNBC is -25% in total primetime viewers, -51% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -45% in the total day demo.
CNN remained at No. 14 in total primetime viewers this past week with a 521,000 total viewer average, and remained at No. 5 in total day viewing with a 462,000 viewer average. CNN remains No. 24 among A25-54 in primetime, posting a 110,000 viewer average in the daypart this past week, and moved up three spots to No. 13 in the total day demo, averaging 88,000 viewers from the measurement.
Compared to the prior week, CNN shed -4% in primetime viewers and -5% in the primetime demo, yet gained less than +1% in total day viewers and gained +4% in the total day demo.
CNN traditionally sees the sharpest growth during periods of major breaking news, and the steepest decline when the news cycle is quieter. Without a major breaking news event to cover this past week (ie. the onset of the Russia-Ukraine war), CNN saw steeper year-over-year losses than its competition. The network dropped -65% in total primetime viewers, -78% among A25-54 in primetime, -58% in total day total viewers and -73% among A25-54 watching across total day vs. the year-ago week.
Week of Feb. 20 2023 cable news ratings, Monday-Sunday (Nielsen live-same-day data):
|• Total Viewers:||2,088,000||1,060,000||521,000|
|TOTAL DAY||Fox News||MSNBC||CNN|
|• Total Viewers:||1,334,000||689,000||462,000|
Here are the basic cable network rankers for the week of Feb. 20.
Week of Feb. 20 (Total Viewers)